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Development. 1999 Nov;126(21):4763-70.

The early-flowering mutant efs is involved in the autonomous promotion pathway of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Laboratory of Genetics, Wageningen University, Dreijenlaan 2, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The transition to flowering is a crucial moment in a plant's life cycle of which the mechanism has only been partly revealed. In a screen for early flowering, after mutagenesis of the late-flowering fwa mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, the early flowering in short days (efs) mutant was identified. Under long-day light conditions, the recessive monogenic efs mutant flowers at the same time as wild type but, under short-day conditions, the mutant flowers much earlier. In addition to its early-flowering phenotype, efs has several pleiotropic effects such as a reduction in plant size, fertility and apical dominance. Double mutant analysis with several late-flowering mutants from the autonomous promotion (fca and fve) and the photoperiod promotion (co, fwa and gi) pathways of flowering showed that efs reduces the flowering time of all these mutants. However, efs is completely epistatic to fca and fve but additive to co, fwa and gi, indicating that EFS is an inhibitor of flowering specifically involved in the autonomous promotion pathway. A vernalisation treatment does not further reduce the flowering time of the efs mutant, suggesting that vernalisation promotes flowering through EFS. By comparing the length of the juvenile and adult phases of vegetative growth for wild-type, efs and the double mutant plants, it is apparent that efs mainly reduces the length of the adult phase.

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